Some people spend a lifetime looking for an elixir to cure whatever it is that ails them. It brings to mind potions in small dark bottles, heavy with promise. If only there was a simple solution to the complexity of our needs and wants.

Today I was reading through some posts inspired by the April Discover Prompts, and there was a wonderful post on the instrument prompt by Moondance Pages which you can find here. The post included links to two performances by Opera North. The first is a recent performance of the introduction to A Space Odyssey from the Kubrick film, played from the homes of the orchestra members. It is brilliant and there is something cheering about the creation of something on this scale whilst in isolation. It is unifying and life affirming to watch with fun moments as well – look out for the cymbals and a masked bassoonist!

The second clip is a surprise performance of Ravel’s Bolero in a shopping centre. It’s great fun to see the musicians appear from various levels, some playing their instruments as they take the escalators!

These clips inspired me to search for more musical elixir. There is an exquisite performance of one of my favourite pieces of all time, Elgar’s Nimrod from the Enigma Variations, by the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. This piece is known for pulling at the emotional heartstrings, and it was a bittersweet joy to watch this performance.

Another amazing musical moment is the performance of Verdi’s Va pensiero from Nabucco by the International Opera Choir in Italy. It is a remarkable achievement with beautiful footage of familiar landmarks as well as a heartfelt dedication to the Italian healthcare workers.

The final piece I will mention here is a beautiful performance of Ravel’s Bolero by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. This is also a tribute to the healthcare workers and it includes an uplifting message at the end. The comments on YouTube also explain how the performance was recorded.

Just what is it about seeing these performances that lifts the spirit? Is it the power of music to transport us to another time or place? Is it seeing musicians create magic in their own rooms of their houses, rather than the usual subdued environment of a concert hall? I’m not sure if there is a single answer as to the why, but I do know that it is an elixir that I need in my life right now.

Have you found an elixir in an unexpected place?

Inspired by Discover Prompts – April writing prompts

[Photo: old medicine bottles at Sovereign Hill, Ballarat]